Monday, August 31, 2015

Galveston Beach Trip 2015

While our friend, Kim, was visiting us from Germany, we decided to take a beach trip to Galveston for a few days. My sister and her family, and my parents, were able to go too, so we rented a large beach house in Pointe West. 

It was awesome!  There was plenty of room for all of us, and it came furnished with furniture, TVs, game tables, cookware, all appliances, etc. We brought food with us and were able to cook everything in the house to save time and money and avoid the inconvenience of going out to eat with 12 people. It was situated on the bay and we only had a short walk across the street to get to the beach. The views were wonderful from both the front and back balconies of the house.

It was so nice to be able to get to the beach quickly and not have it be crowded at all. Renting the house also gave us access to the nearby beach club, which meant two pools and a cafe. This was Jude's first time at the beach, and he took after his big brother in his affinity for the sand.

One day we took the kiddos to the Pleasure Pier to check out the midway and the rides.

Another day, part of the crew stayed behind with the kids while the rest of us went on a bay fishing expedition. I'm not a big fan of fishing, so I just enjoyed the boat ride, the company, and catching some sun. Our boat was called "Dutch Treat", which was quite fitting! The Germans had the most luck catching fish, so that was exciting.

We thought the kids (and adults!) would enjoy a dolphin cruise, so we ate lunch in Galveston one day and then embarked on our journey. It was a great success and we saw a ton of dolphins, many right beside our boat.

On our last night of vacation, we decided to take a sunset walk to the beach. It made for some great pictures and lots of smiles!

All in all, we had a fantastic time and it was so nice to spend time with our loved ones. If we make it back to the Galveston/Pointe West area in the future, I definitely foresee us staying in the same place!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Catered Dinner Party

I'm lucky enough to live down the street from a very talented chef. We've become friends with him and his family, and Meezy and I have dined numerous times at the restaurant where he serves as the Executive Chef.  Another neighbor/friend mentioned that she had him cater a private party at her house and that gave Meezy and I an idea. Our friend/former exchange student/honorary family member (Kim) from Germany came back to visit us for 3 weeks recently, and we wanted to have a special dinner for her and her boyfriend. We thought about making reservations at a restaurant and inviting a few more friends, but the thought of having a dinner party at our own house sounded really fun.  It's comfortable and laid back and we could have control over the food and drinks being served.

First order of business was deciding on the menu. We knew we wanted five courses and wanted it to be a good variety of foods. I'm a vegetarian and our guest of honor doesn't like fish, so the chef was nice enough to do custom items to accommodate the two of us, while still providing an amazing course for everyone else.

With this many plates and silverware needed, we decided the best option was to use a rental company to provide them. We also hired a waiter to help with the serving and act as a bartender. Next order of business was the guest list. We knew we wanted to invite friends that Kim had grown particularly fond of throughout her previous stays with us. The hard part was trying to keep it to a reasonable number! We had to make sure we could afford that many guests and also would have enough room for them. I wish we could've invited a few more people, but this was the best we could do. The final guest list included 12 diners. My dining table is fantastic and can handle that many people with the leaves extended, but I don't have 12 matching chairs! It was a little hodge-podge, but at least we all had room.

I failed massively by not taking pictures of the chef working his magic or of each course as they were being presented. I snapped one quick pic of the first course as it was being constructed, though.

I also managed to get a pic of the dessert before I devoured every last morsel.

The dinner was truly phenomenal and the fellowship was on par too. It was great to sit back and catch up with friends in the comfort of our own home, while not having to deal with any of the usual hosting responsibilities. If we could afford it, I would do this more often!